KardiaMobile Card is the newest addition to AliveCor’s product line. The size and shape of a credit card, it is the thinnest electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) device available. I use it for a few weeks. The following is my opinion.
The Californian company has been around since 2011. Since then, it has become one of the best-known names in the field of personal ECG technology.
An ECG is used to assess your heart health. Taking a reading once in a while is important, especially as you get older. The test records heart rate and electrical activity and can be a helpful way to identify and rule out heart abnormalities.
The company’s fame is that it is considered the first to produce an over-the-counter device capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib). It is also the first to receive FDA clearance for a medical device accessory for the Apple Watch.
Some recent additions to its product line include KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L. The first is a single-lead ECG device, the second a more accurate 6-lead device. The more leads the better, as the additional information that can be generated provides a more complete view of your heart activity.
Some thought that AliveCor would face difficulties after the launch of the ECG-enabled Apple Watch, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. It seems that the media coverage around the Apple device has raised awareness of the importance of occasionally checking heart rate and electrical activity.
KardiaMobile card review: How to take a reading
As with most other portable devices, you will need to install the accompanying smartphone app in order to use the device and view your results. The Kardia iOS or Android app is the same one used for the company’s other devices. When you first open, you will be asked to set up your account by answering a few basic questions. You will then be guided through the initial matching process.
It’s all quick and easy and I haven’t had any problems. The same goes for pairing – whenever you open the app and turn on the board, the two have no problem communicating. Pairing is instantaneous.
To take a measurement, launch the app and tap “Record your ECG”. The next screen will ask you to turn on your KardiaMobile Card device. Place your thumbs against the two electrodes and recording will begin once good contact is confirmed.
You will then notice a 30-second countdown during which a graph will display your real-time ECG as well as your heart rate. That’s all there is to it – quick and easy. The board will shut down as soon as the reading is captured and the results are synced.
In the settings you can change the recording duration. The default is 30 seconds, but you can increase it to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 40 minutes.
KardiaMobile Card review: The app, viewing and sharing your results
The map itself has no display. Instead, all information can be found in the smartphone app.
First, this includes an evaluation of your ECG. If everything is as it should be, you will receive the message “Normal sinus rhythm”. This means that no heart rate abnormalities were detected and your heart rate was between 50 and 100 beats per minute. You can add notes to the measurement, download a PDF showing the measurement graph in detail, notify the inner circle, or request a clinician review.
The inner circle page allows you to customize “healers”. Just add their name and email address, then you can share your metrics with them with a click.
The clinical review option is something unique – it’s one of the things that sets AliveCor devices apart from “standard” ECG-enabled smartwatches. By choosing this option, your ECG measurement will be sent to and reviewed by a US Board certified cardiologist.
The resulting comments will contain a clinical analysis of the reading and the doctor’s recommendation. The response time is up to 24 hours. All KardiaCare members receive 4 free clinician opinions and this is part of the package when you purchase CardiaMobile Card. If you find you’ve used it and need additional exams, each costs $25.
In addition to the reading, you also have the option of adding your blood pressure. No, KardiaMobile will not measure your blood pressure, but you can take it yourself with a blood pressure monitor and enter it manually. Or pair an Omron monitor to the Kardia app and the measurement will be added automatically. There is also an option to add your weight.
Beyond that, the smartphone app lets you view a full history of your ECG readings. Each record retains the original detailed data. Below is a nice little summary that, in plain language, explains each individual result.
In the health history, you will also find an option to generate a report. Specify the date range (up to 31 days) and whether you want the report content to include ECG, blood pressure and weight – and you’ll receive a PDF summary for that time period for you to review in detail and share with others.
It connects to Apple Health
Those with an iPhone or Apple Watch will be happy to know that the app connects to Apple Health. This allows it to sync Apple Health metrics such as ECGs, blood pressure, weight and more with the Kardia app. You can even send your Apple Watch ECGs to board-certified cardiologists for review. Although I would suggest using the KardiaMobile card for this as it will be more accurate.
I really like the app. It works seamlessly and doesn’t burden you with advanced health jargon or unnecessary stats. The ability to quickly and easily share your results and get an evaluation is very useful. Particularly for those who suffer from heart disease.
Two types of memberships
KardiaMobile Card offers two types of subscriptions. The first one is called Basic and this one is free. In this mode, you will be evaluated for three types of heart abnormalities: atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, and tachycardia.
Those who after further analysis of their heart rate will appreciate joining KardiaCare. As mentioned, when you purchase the card, you get one year free access by default. If you still need it after the year is over, the monthly fee is $9.99, or you can opt for a one-time annual fee of $99.99.
There are several differences between Basic and KardiaCare subscriptions that you should be aware of. They are all listed in the table below.
Membership in KardiaCare gives you access to a total of six types of cardiac arrhythmias – all of these can appear in both healthy adults and those with heart conditions. In addition to the three listed above, this includes: sinus rhythm with supraventricular ectopia (SVE), sinus rhythm with premature ventricular contractions (PVC), and sinus rhythm with wide QRS. You can read more about advanced determinations at The AliveCor Blog.
A requirement of the FDA for additional determinations is a review of your ECG by a board-certified cardiologist. This will be done for free the first time you take a measurement. Once done, you will have access to the full list of determinations. Membership gives you four credits (a $100 value). You can use them for four on-demand professional assessments of your ECG reading.
KardiaMobile Card Review: The Basics
It is clear from this review that I was impressed with KardiaMobile Card. The device has a few unique elements that work in its favor. The first is the credit card-like design that lets you carry it anywhere. There is no charge and the board should work for a few years with the internal battery intact.
Plus, it’s a medical-grade, single-lead ECG device that has been cleared by the FDA, meaning you can be confident in its measurements. It can spot six of the most common heart arrhythmias.
Kardia Mobile Card
I really like the whole concept and appreciated the ease of taking measurements and the simplicity of using the smartphone app. With the ability to share your results and even send them to professional clinicians for review, the device presents itself as a complete solution for those who suffer from heart problems or those who simply want to monitor their heart health more closely.
The KardiaMobile card costs $149.00 on The AliveCor website. As mentioned, the purchase comes with a year’s access to KardiaCare, which normally costs $99. This includes four professional assessments of your ECG readings. The company also offers a range of other products, including KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L.
**For the purposes of an honest and unbiased review, we received the KardiaMobile Card from AliveCor for free. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own.